B-25 Mitchell
1/48 Scale
8 Channels
P-51 Mustang
1/48 Scale
6 Channels
2.65", 0.495 gram
Martin's Midge
3.2", 0.98 gram
4", 1.3 gram

Update February 2008

The Shark has been on a diet. It now weighs just under 1/2 gram, 0.485 grams to be exact. This is believed to be the first electric-powered radio-controlled fixed-wing aircraft under 1/2 gram. In fact, there are now two Sharks, the second one being a little heavier, but still under 1/2 gram at 0.495 grams.

There were two developments that made it possible to get under 1/2 gram. The first was a new lipoly battery from Atomic Workshop that weighs 335 mg, before being lightened to 290 mg. The second is a new hand-built brushless motor weighing just 45 mg.

There is another difference in the second Shark. It uses a new hand-built 900 MHz radio that I built, called a Rabbit, that uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology. The new radio weighs 65 mg, which accounts for most of the difference in weight from the first Shark.

September 2006

This is the Shark, so named because of the shape of the fin. It is a direct derivative of the Midge. It weighs 0.695 grams, believed to be a new unofficial world record for the lightest flying remote-controlled, electric-powered plane. The maiden flight was at Indoor Night at the 2006 NEAT Fair in New York. It was launched by Matt Keenon and was climbing nicely before pilot error had it crashing into a wall.

Later in the evening it was launched by the previous record holder, Robert Guillot, in front of the assembled crowd. It didn't climb quite as well, but it flew.

One of the differences from the Midge is the motor. The Shark uses a stripped down version of the 3.2 mm Shicoh coreless motor. It has no case, no flux ring, and a carbon shaft.

Another difference is the receiver. The Shark uses a modified version of the current latest 27 MHz receiver from Nick Leichty. As shipped the receiver weighs only 75 mg, but I reduced this to 60 mg by replacing the 8-pin PIC chip with a 6-pin chip programmed with a version of my YAPP code to provide only two channels of operation, throttle and rudder.

The only other difference is that the airframe is smaller, at 2.65 inches wingspan.

Shark Pictures

Pair of Sharks

0.495 grams

2.65" Wingspan

900MHz Rabbit

Brushless Motor

Motor at 25,000 rpm

In Flight

Original Shark

Shark Videos

Shark 1 - Leichty

Shark 2 - Rabbit

Shark Specifications
Wingspan 2.65" (6.73 cm) [3.0" flat]
Chord 1.05" (2.67 cm)
Wing Area 2.84 sq.in (18.3 sq.cm)
Weight 0.017 oz (0.485 grams)
Wing Loading 0.86 oz/sq.ft (2.65 g/sq.dm)
Motor Single phase brushless with Allegro 1442 controller
Gears None - Direct Drive
Propellor 0.7" x 0.5" (17.8mm x 12.7mm) carbon cloth on computer-designed blank
Battery 8.5 mAH LiPoly, trimmed
Radio 1. Leichty Micro, 27MHz, 0.060 grams

2. Starving Rabbit, 900MHz FHSS, 0.065 grams

Antenna 1. 4" Litz wire monopole

2. 3.25" dipole

Actuator 1/16" (1.6mm) ID, 51awg, 135 ohms, 0.04"x0.02" (1mm x 0.5mm) N50 Neodymium magnet
Construction Carbon rod, fuselage stick 0.010" (0.25 mm), wing and tail 0.005" (0.13mm). Covering 2 um, 2.2 g/m^2 mylar
Control Rudder, Throttle
Weight Breakdown
Prop 15mg
Motor 45mg
Battery 290mg
Receiver 60mg
Actuator 15mg
Airframe+switch 60mg
Total 485mg

Shark Plans
Plans in Adobe PDF format
Adobe PDF reader can be downloaded free from Get Adobe Reader